Mustangs of the 2015 Hot Rod Power Tour: Day 3, Monday June 8 - Champaign, IL to St. Louis, IL
After a night in Champaign, IL filled with sideways rain, incredible lightning shows, and constant tornado warnings (with one touching down five miles from the host hotel!), we awoke to light rain and hit the road to Madison, IL, which is actually East St. Louis and Gateway Raceway. Thankfully, a short time into the drive saw sunny skies the rest of the day and serene country roads through the Heartland of America.
It was a great drive through some neat small towns, including Gillespie, IL where the locals lined the street to greet and wave at the Power Tour’s traveling road show. Of special note were Tim Welch and his crew at Welch’s Route 66 Auto Service, who initially grabbed our attention with his twin Mustang IIs on display, and then kept it with free cold drinks. Welch runs his hot rod and repair shop in a cool old dealership that dates back to 1928. The shop name refers to the main drag through town that was a part of historic Route 66 from 1926-1930.
The only carnage we saw was on the off ramp going into Gateway Raceway, where the lineup backed up on the interstate for nearly a mile and the extended warm weather idling made Brad Roseman’s ’65 Mustang coupe go into vapor lock and stall. He packed a bag of ice around the fuel line and got it going again but as we crawled into the venue, we witnessed it happening again. Eventually, he made it all the way into the show and was obviously relieved.
Once again, Power Tour proved to be massive, consuming the entire infield of the 1.25-mile oval track in addition to the parking lot and pits of the dragstrip. This day featured drag racing earlier in the day, and a huge burnout contest emceed by Roadkill hosts David Freiburger and Mike Finnegan that packed the stands. It was impossible to see the entire show today unless you arrived pretty early, and with our regular stops for photography and the occasional misread map directions and subsequent episodes of getting totally lost, we got to the venue late and sadly missed much of the day’s activities. We’ll rectify that tomorrow with complete coverage from Memphis Motorsports Park, where the dragstrip should once again be on fire and we’ll be right there in the middle of the action.
We'll be doing daily updates throughout the week during the Hot Rod Power Tour, so be sure to check back for the latest!